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 Sport Psych Book Recommendations

Anything written by Dr. Ronald Smith and Dr. Frank Smoll is worth reading concerning youth sports.  Dr. Smith and Dr. Smoll are professors at the University of Washington Psychology Department and operate the Coach Effectiveness Training ProgramÔ which is the most successful and research supported youth sport psychology program in the U.S.  Smith and Smoll have over 20 years of research on coaching behaviors and how they affect athletes.  Terry Orlick is also another one of my favorite sport psych sources.  Orlick has worked with hundreds of Olympic athletes and has a great easy to understand writing style.

(quick reads, great basic info, “must reads” for anyone interested in youth sports psychology)

Coaches Who Never Lose



“Coaches Who Never Lose…Making Sure Athletes Win, No Matter What the Score:
A 30-Minute Primer for Coaching Effectiveness”
(24 pages,

  • Frank Smoll & Ronald Smith, 1997 (ISBN #1886346038)



“Sports and Your Child: A 50-Minute Guide for Parents”
(46 pages,

  • Frank Smoll & Ronald Smith, 1999 (ISBN #1886346054)

(still an easy read and interesting—just more in depth)



"Way to Go, Coach!: A Scientifically-Proven Approach to Youth Sports Coaching Effectiveness"
(205 pages,

  • Ronald Smith & Frank Smoll, 2002 (ISBN #1886346070)
  • An expansion of the two books above by Smith and Smoll.  Another great source and highly recommended.




"In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sport and Life Through Mental Training"
(242 pages,

  • Terry Orlick, 2001 (ISBN #0736031863)
  • Terry Orlick, PhD, is a world famous Olympic psychologist, author, lecturer, and professor from Canada.  Orlick has over 28 years of Olympic experience and is the “king of focus and flow.”  His books are well written and emphasize the “joy of movement” that can be experienced in successful sport and exercise activities.




"Body Mind Master: Creating Success in Sport & Life"
(166 pages,

  • Dan Millman, 1999 (ISBN #1577310942)
  • Former world champion athlete Dan Millman does a great job getting you to think about moving “naturally” as an athlete and in life.  Joy of life and movement are emphasized along with some Eastern Zen philosophy.

(for serious adults wanting to study sport psychology)


"Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications”
(492 pages,

  • Richard Cox, 2001 (ISBN #0072489154)
  • There are a lot of sport psychology text books, but this is the best one I’ve found.  It’s comprehensive yet compact and easy to understand for a textbook. Excellent reference source.


“Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology”
(538 pages,

  • Robert Weinberg & Daniel Gould, 1999 (ISBN #0880118245)
  • Weinberg and Gould are two of the most respected sport psychologists in the U.S. today.  Their book is very comprehensive and thorough with plenty of graphics.  Excellent reference source.

(more good "extras" if you're really into the mind/body connection of performance psychology)

Cover Image

"Everyday Enlightenment: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth"

(350 pages,

  • Dan Millman, 1999 (ISBN #0446674974)
  • More mind/body/spirit awakening from Dan Millman--a master of the "joy of movement and life."

The Book of Five Rings



"The Book of Five Rings"
(151 pages,

  • Miyamoto Musashi translated by Thomas Cleary, 1994 (ISBN #0877739986)
  • The ultimate book on winning, strategy, leadership, and warrior philosophy.

  • *Note: There are many translations of this book.  Cleary is one of the more experienced translators of Eastern philosophy.

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(Updated on 8.19.07)

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